Kyle of Lochalsh: The multi-purpose railway at Kyle of Lochalsh in the late 1960s - passengers, parcels, mail, freight, and direct interchange with MacBraynes buses - plus of course the Skye ferry.
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) //

Kyle of Lochalsh

Location type


Name and dates

Kyle of Lochalsh (1897-)

Station code: KYL National Rail ScotRail
Where: Highland, Scotland
Opened on the Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway).
Open on the Kyle Line.


This is the terminus of the line from the junction at Dingwall, trains starting from Inverness. It enjoys an impressive location on the former steamer pier with a backdrop (as seen from the north) of mountains, such as Sgurr na Coinnich, on the Isle of Skye seen over Loch Alsh. The station is in the middle of the southern part of the village, which developed around the station. This terminus replaced the further east station at Stromeferry.

Opening of the line directly led to the expansion of Kyle of Lochalsh, although the village, a pier and the ferry to Kyleakin already existed at the end of a road from Erbusaig.

The station building is a single storey, wooden and built in the Swiss Chalet style (reminiscent of the West Highland Railway built around the same time). There are two platforms - that to the west has a loop and that to the east a siding in parallel with it. The station was designed by Murdoch Paterson.

Formerly the quaysides were rail served and some track and turntables remain embedded in the pier's cobbles and concrete. There was a major track rationalisation around 1984 when the signal box closed.

Kyle Shed was to the north and there were sidings to an Admiralty pier to the east of the station.

The pier was served by steamers to Skye and other islands. The slip, to the west, was later used for roll on - roll off ferries to Kyleakin on Skye. The pier is no longer regularly used by ferries to the Outer Isles, Ullapool now being used instead.

The Highland Railway owned the nearby Lochalsh Hotel.

To the north, on the east side of the line, the signal box still stands, now in use as rentable accommodation. Kyle of Lochalsh Signal Box Accommodation . It was replaced by RETB operated from Dingwall in 1984.

The Kyle Line Museum is based in the main station building.

Waterside Seafood Restaurant is located in the station building.

In the Great War mines were trans-shipped from vessels which had crossed the Atlantic from the United States and taken east by the Kyle line, taken over for this purpose by the Admiralty in 1918, to US Naval Base 17 near Invergordon where the assembly of the mines was completed. These mines were used in the Northern Barrage, a minefield laid between the Orkneys and Norway.

In the Second World War the flow was in the reverse direction on the railway. Mines assembled in Britain were transferred here for use in the minefield laid between the Orkneys, Faeroes and Iceland.


Highland Council - Kyle Harbour


Terminus station pier scenic

External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67


Gaelic name: Chaol Loch Aillse

Chronology Dates

05/07/1865Dingwall and Skye Railway
Dingwall and Skye Railway authorised to run west from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh.
02/05/1868Dingwall and Skye Railway
Deviation authorised; Kyle of Lochalsh to Attadale not to be built. Attadale to have a terminus and pier. Engineer; Joseph Mitchell & Company. Contractors; J & A Granger (Dingwall to Achanalt), A and K Macdonald (Achanalt to Attadale) and Donald McGregor & Company (Attadale Pier).
  /  /1893Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Extension from Stromeferry to Kyle of Lochalsh authorised.
02/11/1897Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Line opened from Stromeferry to new terminus and pier at Kyle of Lochalsh. Stations at; Plockton, Duirinish and Kyle of Lochalsh.
08/12/1897Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
In poor weather, the SS Clansman [II] arrived at Mallaig carrying 2,200 navvies for the railway's construction. (Some possibly ex of the Kyle of Lochalsh Extension, opened 11/1897).
  /  /1917Dingwall and Skye Railway
American Mine base opens at Kyle of Lochalsh.
  /  /1917Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Rail served American Mine base operating in Kyle of Lochalsh.
  /  /1918Dingwall and Skye Railway
American Mine base at Kyle of Lochalsh closes.
31/12/1918Iolaire Disaster
Servicemen, returning from the Great War, arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh on two heavily laden trains. The men embark on the HMY Iolaire and SS Sheila for Stornoway.
17/03/1975Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree mailboat service ends.
03/06/1984Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Kyle of Lochalsh signal box closes.
  /  /1985Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Considerable track reduction at Kyle of Lochalsh.
07/02/1989Inverness and Ross-shire Railway
Ness Viaduct, Inverness, collapses, separating the Thurso, Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh lines from the rest of the network. Dingwall becomes the southern terminus, Muir of Ord closes (although served by a minibus) and becomes a train maintenance depot. Buses operate between Inverness and Dingwall while a new bridge is built. Oil traffic to Lairg is suspended (it does not restart until 2001).
  /04/1998Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Sidings reconditioned/relaid for English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) traffic at Kyle of Lochalsh.
21/10/1999Dingwall and Skye Railway
Timber traffic returns to the Kyle of Lochalsh line.

News items

28/12/20234 Highland train services back up and running after storm damage [Inverness Courier]
26/12/2023No trains on Kyle line until January 4 following Christmas flooding, passengers warned [Inverness Courier]
23/12/2023Train line near Inverness reopens following landslip [Inverness Courier]
09/10/2023ScotRail announces reopening of Kyle of Lochalsh train line after weekend travel chaos [Inverness Courier]
30/09/2023Network Rail engineering works to hit Highland train services in October [Inverness Courier]
20/09/2023Heavy rain causes major disruption on Highland train journeys today [Inverness Courier]
06/09/2023Road closure will enable Balnacra Level Crossing safety inspection [Network Rail]
21/03/2023Pictures: Full steam ahead for Easter reopening of Ross-shire rail attraction [Ross-shire Journal]
21/03/2023Kyle Station Museum re-opens after major refurbishment [Oban Times]
03/02/2023Kyle of Lochalsh line reopens following landslip but delays continue [Press and Journal]


Cock o' the North: Aberdeen to Kyle of Lochalsh - Study in Diesel Power Through Its Various Stages

Highland Railway: People and Places - From the Inverness and Nairn Railway to Scotrail

History of the Railways of the Scottish Highlands: Skye Railway v. 5

Insider Rail Guide: Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh (The Insider Rail Guide)

OS Explorer Map (428) Kyle of Lochalsh, Plockton and Applecross (OS Explorer Active Map)

Rails to Kyle of Lochalsh: Story of the Dingwall and Skye Railway Including the Strathpeffer Branch (Oakwood Library of Railway History)

The Dingwall & Skye Railway: A Pictorial Record of the Line to Kyle of Lochalsh

The Highland Railway

The Highland Railway : The History of the Railways of the Scottish Highlands - Vol 2

The Kyle Line: An Illustrated History and Guide

The Kyle of Lochalsh and Far North Lines

The Kyle of Lochalsh Line: Great Railway Journeys Through Time

Wester Ross and Lochalsh: 40 Coast and Country Walks